In honor of my wedding being less than 100 days away (yay!), I thought it would be fun to create a series where I document the planning process of our Disney Fairytale wedding! In this series, I’ll take you along the planning process with me in anticipation of our big day.
But first, let’s backtrack a bit. Up until about January, we had an entire destination wedding planned. The wedding was set to be at Bilmar Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida for all of our family and friends on May 25, 2019. We were looking at 150-200 guests, and it was going to be beautiful.
The closer and closer the wedding got the more stress that was added on. Our family and friends began stressing about getting time off of work and if they could afford it, it was hard finding vendors due to the wedding being Memorial Day weekend, and the list could go on and on. So, finally, my fiance and I decided we would cancel our “big” wedding and elope. That is what leads us to the start of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series…
Part I: Booking our Fairytale Wedding
Choosing Our Package
When considering and brainstorming places to elope, one of the major factors we were considering was what would be easily accessible while still fitting into our lifestyle. We didn’t want to just head to a courthouse – we wanted something that would compliment who we were. I started googling “Places to elope in Orlando, Florida”, and Disney Fairytale weddings popped up. We knew then that we would be having a Disney Fairytale wedding.
There are three tiers to choose from for a Disney wedding, and this is where the planning began. The three options are:
- Wishes: Starting at $12,000 with a minimum of 18 guests.
- Escape: Starting at $7,000 with a maximum of 18 guests.
- Memories: Starting at $3,500 with a maximum of 4 guests.
Initially, we thought that the Memories package would fit best for us since we wanted to do a simple elopement. However, the more we discussed the idea of our “special day”, we couldn’t picture saying I Do without our parents and siblings with us. We decided that the Escape package was the best fit for us, and this is where the fun began.
Disney’s Escape Wedding Package
Now that we chose which package would best fit our vision and our guest list, we then contacted a Sales Representative to get further information on how the package works and what is included. Our representative, Joe De Matei, was outstanding and a big help in this first stage of the planning process! During about an hour-long consultation on the phone, I was given the following information on what would be included in our special day:
- A one-hour ceremony. Within this hour-long time frame, we would have the traditional wedding ceremony including a processional and a recessional. The hour also includes champagne toasts, a cake cutting ceremony, and a first dance.
- There were several venues to choose from, which I will get more into a little later.
- A two-tier cake and two bottles of champagne. These two items, as part of the ceremony, are included in the package cost.
- A solo violinist. The violinist is included for the ceremony, and the song choices for the sand ceremony, processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting, and more would be decided upon by my fiance and I. We were informed that they have pre-set songs we could choose from, or we could make special requests ahead of time!
- A bouquet and boutonniere. For the bride and groom only. There are several options to choose from!
- A four-hour limousine charter. This can be used for our bridal party or any special guests.
- 2-hour service of a Disney photographer. The photographer would be there to capture all moments during the ceremony, as well as photos of the bridal party and family after the ceremony has ended.
- Included with the photographer is a 20-photo personalized album as well as a USB of all photo’s taken on the special day with printing rights.
- An on-site wedding coordinator, room specialist, and photography coordinator. This team is assigned to you after booking the package.
A few other things that I took note of in regard to the package are…
- There are several enhancement options that can be added on to customize the special day including floral decor for the ceremony space, additional hours for photography, videography, floral for the bridal party, and more.
- We were able to set up a room block with special rates for rooms and tickets for our guests. If our guests reserve 10 room nights in total, we are provided with a complimentary nights stay at the resort of our choice.
- We are required to have a four-night stay booked as the couple, and the reservation has to be linked to our package.
Lastly, some things that are necessary (or, that I found necessary) for our special day and are not included in the package are:
- An officiant. We are provided with a list to choose from, but the officiant must be paid for and booked seperately.
- Floral for our bridal party. We have the option of ordering floral through the Disney floral department or bringing in our own.
- A reserved space to get ready for the bridal party. This one is fine, as we are able to get ready in our hotel rooms and be escorted in the limo to the ceremony space.
After speaking with Joe, we decided that this package was perfect for our elopement and fit our dream very nicely. This moves us into the next part of the process, which is deciding on a venue and putting a “soft hold” on our package!
Choosing our Venue
With the Escape package, we had five different venues to choose from:
- Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- Canada Terrace at the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT
- Sea Breeze Point at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
- Wedding Gazebo at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Luau Pointe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Our first choice was the Canada Terrace in EPCOT. We love that park, and the backdrop of the ceremony space is the waterfall in the back of the Canada pavilion. However, even though the date we wanted was open (May 24), the only time slot available was 9:00am, as they only do ceremonies before park opening which – to us – was entirely too early!
Our second choice was Luau Pointe. We absolutely love the Polynesian, and this ceremony space is beautiful. It’s very tropical and surrounded by beautiful greenery with the backdrop being Seven Seas Lagoon. Since we initially were supposed to get married on the beach, we figured this was perfect! After deciding on this ceremony spot, we were informed that the 1:00pm slot was already reserved, but a 9:00am and an 11:00am ceremony was open and available. As I mentioned above, 9:00am was too early for our taste, so we decided on the 11:00 slot!
Soft-Hold of our Date and Venue
The next and final step of the booking experience was to put a “soft hold” on our ceremony venue, date, and time. What this basically meant was that everything was reserved in our name for about a month’s time span while the Letter of Agreement was being drawn up and until the deposit was set.
To draw up the Letter of Agreement, I had about two weeks to fill out a form from Joe. On the form, I had to choose up to three resorts for our our room block (one value, one moderate, and one deluxe) as well as a resort for our complimentary room. I also had to provide him with basic information including our contact information and our parents’. Since it was easy information, that part of the process only took about three days.
After sending in that information, it took about another two weeks for Joe and his team to draw up a Letter of Agreement. I had to review that all of the information was correct, and my fiance and I had to sign the document. We then had about two more weeks to get the deposit of $1,000 over to them. Once everything was signed and they received the deposit, Joe and his team took about another week to sign the document on their end as well as assign us our wedding coordinator team.
And, that brings us to the end of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part II in our series will be information on how we planned every detail of our wedding with our coordinating team, so be on the look-out!
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you! Below are some photo’s of the venue we chose (Luau Pointe)! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! See ya real soon 😉